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Record pace for construction in Coquitlam, Port Coquitlam

The building boom in the Tri-Cities does not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down, according to the latest numbers from BC Stats.   - TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO
The building boom in the Tri-Cities does not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down, according to the latest numbers from BC Stats.
— image credit: TRI-CITY NEWS FILE PHOTO

The building boom in the Tri-Cities does not appear to be showing any signs of slowing down, according to the latest numbers from BC Stats.

Coquitlam is on pace to break 2013’s record $482 million in total value of building permits filed with the municipality and so far is up 47.1% from the same period last year. Most of the increase is coming in residential development, which has seen a 45.5% increase over 2013’s numbers.

Much of the development is being spurred by the construction of the Evergreen Line, according to Jim McIntyre, the city’s general manager of planning and development.

“We are moving at a record-breaking pace,” he said. “Obviously, the Evergreen Line is stimulating a lot of that.”

McIntyre cautioned that some of the numbers can be skewed by one or two massive projects, pointing to the condo developments in Burquitlam as a major driver of 2014’s early increase in building permit applications.

But there is little doubt that planning staff have been busy, with townhouse and single-family projects on Burke Mountain plus highrise condo towers in Town Centre, he added.

BC Stats figures shows the total value of building permits filed with the city has been steadily increasing since the 2008 economic downturn, rising from $199 million in 2009 to last year’s $482 million record.

But while residential numbers in Coquitlam are booming, McIntyre said industrial and commercial are also showing signs of improvement.

The total value of industrial building permits pulled so far this year is $760,000 — up from $471,000 from this point last year — and vacancy rates in the sector are down.

 

COMMERCIAL, INDUSTRIAL NEED WITH RESIDENTIAL

Commercial development has also seen gains, rising from $8.7 million at this point in 2013 to $14.8 million so far this year. As well, McIntyre noted that commercial vacancy rates are down.

“[Commercial and industrial development] has been the ongoing challenge,” he said. “We can build residential until the cows come home. It’s getting the industrial and commercial.

“You don’t want to be just a bedroom community. You want a place where people can shop and, more importantly, you want places were people can work.”

McIntyre said once the Evergreen Line is closer to completion, he believes the city will see an increase in commercial and industrial building permit applications.

Port Coquitlam is also bracing for a significant amount of construction this year.

Tim Arthur, the city’s manager of building permits and inspections, said the city is on pace to break $100 million, a feat it has only accomplished twice before in recent history.

The bulk of the work is being done in the city’s Dominion Triangle but  new developments along Lougheed Highway are also pushing the number.

Arthur said he his hearing anecdotally from his counterparts in other cities who are also busy processing building permit applications. “There are a lot of municipalities that are getting a lot of work coming in,” he said. “It is reflective of what is going on across the Lower Mainland.”

Meanwhile, Port Moody has seen a modest pullback in the overall value of building permits processed so far this year. In the first six months of 2013, the city processed $5.8 million while, so far in 2014, the city has seen close to $3.7 million.

gmckenna@tricitynews.com

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